What the [Church] Fathers require and give is the change which comes from the Spirit. If we want to approach them outside this reality, they will remain for us incomprehensible as writers, and scorned as persons.
Communication of the patristic word, the word of the Holy Fathers, is not a matter of applying their sayings to this or that topic with the help of a concordance. [The Kingdom of God is not a Talmud, nor is it a mechanical collection of scriptural or patristic quotations outside our being and our lives. ibid., p. 34.] It is a process whereby nourishment is taken up by living organisms, assimilated by them and turned into blood, life and strength. And, subsequently, it means passing on the joy and proclaiming the miracle through the very fact of being brought to life, an experience we apprehend in a way that defies doubt or discussion.
Thus the living patristic word is not conveyed mechanically, nor preserved archaeologically, nor approached through excursions into history. It is conveyed whole, full of life, as it passes from generation to generation through living organisms, altering them, creating “fathers” who make it their personal word, a new possession, a miracle, a wealth which increases as it is given away.
This is the unchanging change wrought by the power that changes corruption into incorruption. It is the motionless perpetual motion of the Word of God, and its ever-living immutability. Every day the Word seems different and new, and is the same. This is the mystery of life which has entered deep into our dead nature and raises it up from within, breaking the bars of Hell.
How beautiful it is for a man to become theology. Then whatever he does, and above all what he does spontaneously, since only what is spontaneous is true, bears witness and speaks of the fact that the Son and Word of God was incarnate, that He was made man through the Holy Spirit and the ever-virgin Mary. It speaks silently about the ineffable mysteries which have been revealed in the last times.
Archimandrite Vasileios, Hymn of Entry, pp. 35-36 passim